Installing under cabinet lighting in your kitchen has many benefits. Under cabinet lighting uses low wattage bulbs to make tasks easier and safer by providing targeted light to a specific area. Under cabinet lighting can provide two functions in your kitchen. It can provide task lighting for countertop food preparation and accent lighting to highlight your countertops and backsplash. Although base units are also useful in workshops, garages and bases, here we will focus on the kitchen.
Benefits of Kitchen Under Cabinet Lighting
1) Energy Efficient – You can save energy by eliminating the need to light an entire room.
2) Variety of light bulbs: Energy saving light bulbs are most often used for under cabinet light fixtures. Common under cabinet light bulbs include fluorescent, halogen, LED and xenon bulbs.
3) Eliminate Shadows – Under cabinet lighting reduces shadows created by wall cabinets and ceiling overhead lighting. Proper spacing of lighting under cabinets eliminates dark shadows under countertops. To eliminate shadows, install one light for every 20 to 30 inches of counter space.
4) Add unique style and distinction to your kitchen – Many kitchen countertops are made of granite or marble. A light under the kitchen cabinets can make your stone countertops shine.
5) Simple Installation: Many DIYers can install under cabinet lighting in just a few hours.
Types of under cabinet lighting: strip lights, puck lights, linear lights
String lights: These are rectangular-shaped fixtures and work well with fluorescent light bulbs. They are great for bringing diffused light into the kitchen.
Puck Lights: These are round fixtures that got their name from their round size and appearance, similar to a hockey puck. These lights are best for highlighting countertops and backsplashes. Puck lights work with LED, halogen and xenon bulbs. Puck lights can be mounted in different positions to point down or towards the splash guard. As an alternative, puck lights can usually be recessed into cabinets.
Linear Lights – Linear lights are often used with fluorescent bulbs. They are the most popular type of fluorescent under kitchen cabinet lighting because they are thin, allowing them to hide behind the cabinet trim.
Types of bulbs used: fluorescent, halogen, incandescent, LED and xenon.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs: These are commonly used for under cabinet lighting fixtures. They create a bright work area by providing clear light. The disadvantage of fluorescent lights is that they cannot be dimmed and sometimes they flicker.
Halogen Bulbs – Homeowners looking for bright, white light choose halogen bulbs. The light emitted by a halogen bulb is warm and bright and provides a good amount of under cabinet light. These bulbs have an extremely long life, lasting up to 2,000 hours.
Incandescent bulbs: These bulbs are the least popular under cabinet bulbs as their light is not very bright. Incandescent bulbs are not energy efficient and give off heat. They last half as long as halogen bulbs.
LED Bulbs: These bulbs are becoming a more popular choice among homeowners as they become more widely available at lighting and home improvement stores. LED bulbs are available in different colors and give homeowners the ability to create unique decorative features. LED bulbs are best for disco lighting.
Xenon Bulbs – These bulbs have the longest lifespan of all under cabinet bulb options. They can last up to 10,000 hours. They are energy efficient as they do not generate heat.
Tips for Successful Under Cabinet Lighting
o A 12-inch light fixture or a 3-disc light fixture must be installed for every 4 feet. countertop.
o Install the lights towards the front of the cabinet so they better highlight the surface.